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My only problem with Apple is wanting to upload to them directly but being unable to because I don't write on a Mac. But THANK you for the new, Bella. Much appreciated.
 

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Thanks for the info, Bella, and it's good to know that you still hang out with us prawns ;)

For feedback to them - even though I'm pretty tech-savvy (work in IT) and have a Mac; I have to say I still find their interfaces not the most intuitive, especially the pricing thing. Having iTunes Producer and then the iTunes Connect both having pricing and territories grids, and them not being the same has caused me headaches (I couldn't get a book that was free to go back up to 99p, so took it off sale), and it's made me less keen to add my other books.

If they could go to a single web-based uploading and title setup system (like Amazon do) then they would get tons more authors joining as there wouldn't be the barrier of having to have a Mac. And at least if everything (like pricing) was in the one place it might be more intuitive to use...
 

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Thanks for sharing that info :)

Apple have been good to me so far. In fact, if I'd known how well I'd do on iTunes, I'd have made the effort to upload directly. But after people like Annie have said they lost all their reviews when changing to direct upload, I'm too scared to!
 

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So, in hindsight, would you upload direct to Amazon and Apple and use D2D for the rest?
I am hearing more about the benefits of uploading direct to Apple...
 

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bellaandre said:
If I had to say what the best way is to sell more books at iBooks (and most of the other retailers, too)--and they confirmed this from what they see with authors who break out on iBooks--I'd probably say that putting the first book free for a limited time period can often give you a boost across the rest of the books in your series. That's what initially made the difference for me at iBooks back in 2011. And I'm also a big fan of Apple's pre-order system because pre-orders factor into first day sales.
Hi Bella,

Thanks so much for posting. I just got the rights back to my strongest series, and as others have mentioned, I lost all of the reviews when I uploaded it as an indie. I'm thinking of trying the first book in series free -- but I was wondering about what you mentioned above (for a limited time period). Is it better to set a first book in series free for a limited time or to make it perma-free?

Many thanks and I'm happy to see you here :)
 

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Thank you for sharing, Bella! I need to look into the affiliate program.

There are still benefits to publishing through D2D. They're the ones who helped me get into Apple's first free in series before Christmas, and that helped me a lot on ibooks.
 

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**********
 

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Hi Bella.  Nice to see you. 
 

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Thanks for the post, Bella. In the past few years my Apple sales have grown to  equal and sometimes surpass my Amazon sales. Barnes and Nobles used to be my number two distributor but they've dropped off to number three. I have found free on a first in series definitely helps. Do they talk about changing the search engine to be more like Amazon's? Their subcategory lists rarely get updated. And the also boughts seem to stay the same forever.

 
 

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You're showing how wonderfully intellectual you are, and what a sly sense of humor you have, by using that title (My dinner with iBooks) for your post.

That was definitely a cerebral movie… and, thus, Apple had dinner with Andre!

Always love to read your info. Thanks.

:D
 

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Thanks for posting, Bella. I love iBooks - they're very proactive and understand indies. Getting featured there is awesome!

Phoenix Sullivan said:
Being able to transfer reviews would be awesome. I have one silly title left on Smashwords from 2011 because I can't afford to give up the 500+ reviews on it.
Ditto! I have 5 books still at Smash that I use to get to iBooks but I'd love to move them all across. No way would I risk losing all those lovely reviews though.
 

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Bella,

Thanks so much for sharing. I love iBooks too. Definitely seen positive results from permafree and an uptick since iOS 8 was released with iBooks preinstalled. Do you have any tips on promoting specifically for Apple besides permafree? I know you've been featured there a lot, so congrats on that too. You're books are well loved in our household, even if they aren't my thing. :)

 

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Awesome. Thanks for the info, Bella.

The iBooks folks had an author dinner a few weeks ago downtown (San Francisco). I was invited by another author and I was blown away how friendly and willing to help the iBooks reps were. They even have dedicated reps for indies. I'm still in select but will be getting out in March and it's exciting to know that iBooks is eager and willing to help indies.
 

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I have nothing but love for iBooks. For one, if you call them, they answer the phone immediately. No phone tree. No being put on hold. I was taken aback the first time I called them to ask them for help, because I wasn't expecting a live person to get on the phone right away. For a large company to have that kind of customer service says a lot. In contrast, if you have a problem with KDP, you have to send an email and wait for 24 hours or so to get a reply. Not that KDP has bad customer service, but iBooks blows them away.

Two, for everyone who is hesitant about uploading direct to iBooks because they don't have a Mac - I would urge them to buy a Mac. Seriously. My Mac has been my best investment, not just because it's AWESOME - and it is awesome, as it's bug free and super fast - but also because you can get Vellum. Vellum, all by itself, is worth the investment in a Mac. If you happen to have an extra $800 or $1000 and don't know where to invest it, invest it in a Mac. You won't regret it.

Third, I'm totally excited that a rep from iBooks has contacted little ol' me and has set up a phone interview to talk about promoting my books on iBooks. It seems that they really are quite supportive of indies, and I'm really looking forward to further promotional opportunities with them. My recent BB promo has resulted in many more sales on iBooks than on Amazon, to my surprise. Who knows? iBooks might surpass my Amazon income in 2015. I wouldn't be surprised.

As Bella said, with the iBooks coming standard on all new Apple devices, I think that now is the time to grow with them.

The downside is switching from an aggregator to uploading direct, because of losing reviews. I admit, that's a huge downside. The best way around that is to never use an aggregator in the first place. That's one of the pieces of advice that 2015 me would tell 2013 me - just upload direct everywhere. It saves a lot of headaches, it gives you the chance to be on the platform's radar, you can customize your links for each distributor, and you don't have to pay 10% to the middleman. The benefits of uploading direct far outweigh the downside, which is that using an aggregator is easier.

Happy to hear you, Bella, as the iBooks cheerleader! They couldn't find a better person to lead the way! )
 

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I second the whole Mac thing. This last book was the easiest I've done. Once I finished the edits, I imported my Word doc into Vellum, chose the styles, added the back matter with links and generated the ebook. I already had the pre-order up and just dragged the epub into Producer and uploaded it. I do have books with an aggregator, but I'm going to leave them there, at least for the moment. Anything new will go direct. One thing I do like too is the reporting, which is daily and gives you the breakdown of which countries you've sold in.

In my own experience going through an aggregator or not, if they notice you then they'll do what they can to help you. I'm so appreciative of what iBooks have done for me, and definitely echo what Bella said about first in a series free. I've got one in a promo at the moment and the results have been awesome so far.
 

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MeganBryce said:
Congrats, Annie! You're so downbeat about it, just slipping your news in here...I had to start a whole new topic. :)
Thanks Megan! I'm really excited!!!! I love iBooks anyhow, and have done well there, so I can't wait to talk to the rep. The funny thing is is that there is a way for all of us to proactively submit our books for consideration to be featured with them. I ran across that info when I was searching for something else. I never did it, though. I was going to get around to it, but thought that they probably wouldn't pick me. Guess I should have tried it! :)
 
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